Eradicating Mosquitoes From Your Backyard — With Seltzer?

Q: What do you call 8000 dead mosquitoes in a Mason jar?

A: A good start. And [Dan Rojas]’s low-tech mosquito trap accomplished the feat in two nights with nothing fancier than a fan and a bottle of seltzer.

We know what you’re thinking: Where’s the hack? Why not at least use a laser sentry gun to zap skeeters on the fly? We agree that [Dan]’s mosquito trap, consisting of a powerful fan to create suction and a piece of window screen to catch the hapless bloodsuckers, is decidedly low-tech. But you can’t argue with results. Unless he’s fudging the numbers, a half-full Mason jar of parasite cadavers is pretty impressive. And you have to love the simplicity of the attractant he’s using. Mosquitoes are attracted to the CO2 exhaled by tasty mammals, but rather than do something elaborate with a paintball gun cartridge or the like, [Dan] simply cracks a bottle of seltzer and lets it outgas. Dead simple, and wickedly effective. The trapped bugs quickly desiccate in the strong air stream, aided by a few spritzes of isopropyl alcohol before cleaning the screen, which leaves them safely edible to frogs and insects.

Simple, cheap, and effective. Sounds like a great hack to us. And it’s really just a brute-force implementation of this mosquito-killing billboard for areas prone to Zika.

[via r/videos]

81 thoughts on “Eradicating Mosquitoes From Your Backyard — With Seltzer?

    1. I’d like to expand upon my previous comment. Wiping out mosquitos en masse is extremely irresponsible. If mosquito eradication is required in an area for disease prevention, then that is a job for the experts who will weigh up the ecological impacts. Don’t just go round killing large numbers of things. Please.

      1. WON’T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK ABOUT THE MOSQUITOES!? seriously, those little blood suckers need to be thinned out. They carry too many diseases today to really leave any ecological benefit. I know I know, save the skeeters save the frogs. The guy obviously has that in mind still since you can practically throw these things out into the water en masse and feed your frog colony.

        I think it’s a great idea.

          1. Sad, but very true. No one ever died, or got sick, from DDT but now we still have so many folks dying from mosquito born diseases which is totally preventable.

          2. It started with ‘Silent Spring’, a now thoroughly discredited work by Rachel Carson published in 1962.

            Since then, it’s been driven mostly by self-proclaimed ‘environmentalists’ who are absolutely convinced that they know better than the scientists who’ve been studying the problem since the 1960’s.

            As I understand it, the problem – as always – is overuse, indiscriminate and inappropriate use. However this only affects raptors, not ‘perching’ species.

            To make matters worse, a RSPB study shows clear evidence that eggshell thinning in some species pre-dates the introduction of DDT by at least fifty years.

      2. Generalizations don’t work well here. Mosquitoes are a pest from an ecological point of view. There’s few if anything in the food and development cycle that their existence brings and from a disease control point of view the eradication of mosquitoes is basically auto approved. Plus killing 8000 of the little suckers does nothing in the grand scheme of things.

        1. Don’t know about that – it’s 4000 fewer potential bites (only females take blood meals) and 4000 fewer males to fertilize the females in the first place. 8000 is a drop in the bucket worldwide, but it makes a huge difference in your own yard.

      3. Do you live in an area that has a lot of mosquitoes (and i mean clouds of them), or are there just a few in the height of summer? They’re a serious pest in some places – and natural methods such as a healthy tadpole population don’t manage to keep them under control.

        There’s not many downsides to removing most of the mosquitoes from the environment, compared to the benefits. If I had to choose between ticks and mosquitoes to eliminate, I’d have to think long and carefully about it.

        1. The ‘scientific study’ that was used to get DDT banned over the claim that it caused thinning of bird egg shells was rigged. The test group with DDT added to their diet was also fed a chemical properly proved to cause thinner shells. The control group was fed a high calcium diet. Other tests properly conducted where DDT was the only difference had the DDT groups laying eggs with thicker shells and more successful hatchings.

          A properly conducted scientific test has ONE difference between the test and control groups, and uses groups large enough to get an good average of the results and to hopefully spot any rare anomalous responses. Some alleged scientists have used such anomalies to make claims the rest of their data doesn’t support. (Look up YAD06.)

          DDT killed parasites and other things negatively impacting the birds’ health. There’s not been any solid proof that DDT is harmful to humans (or other mammals).

          The over use of DDT was not a good thing because it was killing beneficial insects along with harmful ones.

          1. That would be Bitman, et. al. The U.S. Department of Ag doesn’t like to talk about him. Particularly as the eggshell study wasn’t the only thing he and his colleagues were found to have falsified :)

        1. Apparently 60% is considered to be the norm and acceptable.

          Take Movember…..
          They get >$100M in donations each year, but only 60% goes to the charities they support.
          Now that charity has another 40% overhead, so only 60% goes to the scientific community.
          The scientist community also has 40% overhead.

          So, of the $100M each year, $60M goes to the charity, who passes on 60% = $36M to the scientific community, who pass on 60% = $21.6 to the actual scientist.

          So, of the $1 you donated, only 21.6c get to the actual scientist to do the work.

          Now, if there are more “bodies” in between the scientist and the donors, the less that actually goes directly to the research. Your donations at work :(

          Now you know why many retired athletes love to setup charities ;)
          And why there are a lot of crooks that “own” charities. Yep, Movember is “owned”.

      4. Agreed; potential impacts include birds and bats, as well as aquatic creatures that feed on their eggs/larvae. Some potential future control methods include breeding/genetic modification to reduce/eliminate their ability to carry specific disease and to make them find humans less palatable. Those sorts of things need to be considered very carefully, as screwing around with hard-won evolutionary traits is serious business.

      5. Pretty much every educated scientist that had weighed in on mosquito eradication has said the same thing: do it. No harm to the food chain.

        And is rather do this then f go out and spray the same pesticides that kill bees… Because that’s what you do when you want to get rid of mosquito.

    2. I’d like to build a BAT box to mount on the north side of the house however HOA prohit such a thing. I can’t tell if you are trolling or not but considering mosquitos are the number one killer of humans (more than hipppos, alligators, sharks and other Apex predators combined) I’ll just consider the comment you made as uneducated. Malaria, Zika, Avian Flu are all spread by mosquitos. *Cheers* Happy St. Patrick’s day fellow human ????

  1. Have used similar trap for years at remote mountain top transmitter sites. A ring floresent light mounted around front of big high speed fan with a nylon stocking attatched to output. First saw it used back in the sixties outside a drive inn in Idaho. Passed idea on to transmitter engineers all over mountain west. Works very well on flys and moths as well. Half a jar of bugs doesn’t sound out of line given results I’ve seen elsewhere.

  2. It looks like many more types of insects than mosquitoes are being killed. I wonder what the ratio of mosquitoes to useful insects is. I’m surprised the air movement from the fan doesn’t diffuse the carbon dioxide to the point of being useless.

  3. I had a small scale version of this running at night in my last house. A very strong PC fan (3w), with a mesh from a bag of onions stretched around it and placed near the pilot light on my oven (which attracted a lot.

    Question..has anyone else noticed these mini monsters always group near the driver for LCD panels? I’ve tried messing with a low voltage e.l. Tape and driver but to no avail, perhaps the more technically minded could figure out what specifically it is about the LCD setup that attracts them, I’ve seen lab tests online where they say electronics have no attractant effect…but all my screens get the same result..a bunch of mozzies hanging around at a specific spot on each.

      1. You had the right idea with the corona discharge, but the usual result of it isn’t UV (that would require an arc) but ozone – 03. Now I’m not a chemist but maybe O3 interacts with other molecules to form CO2?

      2. U.v. Has been ruled out, theres a few bids on YouTube about experimenting with that. They don’t care about u.v..
        They follow pheromones, co2, and see infra red (vein targeting)

      3. Add a small black light or CFL black light in front of the fan intake. As the bugs orbit the light and close in, the air suction sucks them in like a black hole to their doom. Once too close to the fan, the air is moving faster than they can fly and they can’t reach “escape velocity” just like a black hole. Now, about being green by recycling the dead bugs. Add them to a pond and let frogs get lazy.

  4. Do you leave the fans running daily/nightly? Have you tested having the fans on for one day or night and seeing the mosquito count or population without the fans the day after or week after?…

    I’m asking these questions because it sounds like the fans are quite loud, and would be an annoyance if you were spending time outside or having a get together.

    Any thoughts?

      1. It really depends on the species of mosquito. Tiger mosquitoes are around all day and even have a different attack strategy – they don’t attack and hide, they attack and keep attacking until they suck some. They can carry desease and are the worst!

  5. Now that the invasive stinkbug hordes are over I can get back to using my Sug Bucker, a little line powered PC fan that needs a fresh ladies nylon. The line powered fans are metal and have enough mass to grind thru big moths and beetles without stalling. It rests above the cabinet over the gas stove with a light attractant beside it.
    Stinkbugs, you can’t suck them up or harm them in any way. A wad of TP, envelop and take the paper back to the toilet and flush. Their stink from being caught in this fan may be fanned about and cause more to be attracted. It’s a stink-in, let’s party!

      1. yeah…tried as a kid, dozens of tiny fireballs flying towards you can make you freak out and want to wet your pants…

        good thing they couldn’t really fly far once they ignited, but it was shocking none the less///

  6. We usually use a plastic bottle (1.5l, ~50 oz) with water + yeast + sugar to get rid of bloodsuckers.

    Take a plastic bottle, cut of the top cone and put it pack inverted with some tape, fill up with 1.5 dl (~5 oz) of water, put in a spoon of sugar plus some yeast, hang the bottle somewhere in the yard.

  7. Another solution could be building shelter for bats.
    Since we have bats in our garden, all flying insects are gone.
    The only thing you notice from them is them silently flying around the whole night. No sound, no chemicals, no maintenance.

    1. Ahhhh, I wish it could work, but no it doen’t.
      I live in place with a lot of tiger mosquitos, there is also a lot of bats, switfs and other birds, at least it must do some regulation but there still a lot of mosquitos near the ground where bats and birds can’t reach them.

  8. Unconventional use of stuff… Definitely a hack.
    It doesn’t help when sitting outside but we just have a ceiling fan in each room. The slow moving air is just too much for the mozzies and they go bug the neighbours…

  9. 8,000 mosquitoes, not nearly enough to make any significant difference.

    If everyone on the planet killed 8,000 every night .. for a year… it probably wouldn’t make that much difference.. there are an awful lot of mozzies on the planet… here’s a rough estimate of the numbers concerned..

    I am open to better ones. ->

    Frankly having just returned from a trip to India, killing mosquitoes in excessively large numbers has just been added to my to-do list. I must have almost 8,000 bites(*)

    (*) There may be significant errors in the way I have calculated that number too }¬)

    1. 7*10^16 mosquitoes will cost you $ 1.4*10^13. The required 140 TWh is about the electricity usage of China in 10 days, which is also about the maximum time-frame if you want to kill mosquitoes faster than they breed.

      1. I think that much weaker (but large) fans will work too – some guys in the comments above even mention PC fans. Mosquitoes are rather poor fliers.

        Plus, in some areas of the world they are downright dangerous, and everything should be tried to kill them.

  10. Anyone happen to also consider CO2 generation attracts ticks? The most common method to used to estimate tick population is to stake down a sheet and drop a lump of dry ice in the middle…. then a few hours later count the ticks that came running.

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